STRUGGLE IN THE PERSIAN GULF 279
'possession of the town, and it was agreed that they should
attack from the land side. From the sea and from a land
battery the English bombarded simultaneously the castle
and the fleet, but the latter did not attempt to show fight.
The largest Portuguese galleon, the San Pedro, was set
on fire first, and then one by one the other ships were
destroyed. The Persians, on their side, succeeded in
blowing up part of the wall; but their assault, although
delivered with much gallantry, was repulsed with loss.
Nevertheless, the situation of the garrison was desperate,
and as the result of negotiations the fort was surrendered
to the English. Five years after this feat of arms Sir
Thomas Herbert visited Hormuz and wrote of the
fort: " And both within and without the Castle so
regularly built and so well fortified with deep trenches,
counterscarp, and great Ordnance commanding both
City and Haven, that none exceeded it through all the
Thus fell the famous castle of Hormuz, by means of
which the Portuguese for more than a century had held
at their mercy the trade between India and Europe by the
Persian Gulf. Portugal was thrown back on Maskat, but
from that base remained still so formidable that the
English squadron was forced to keep with the Dutch for
mutual protection; in 1624 the allied fleets fought an
indecisive action against the Portuguese.
In 1625 the squadron from Engknd was attacked by
Botelho, the new Portuguese commander. The Lion
was boarded, but the assailants were blown up, and the
ship made for Bandar Abbas, then more generally called
Gombroon.2 There Ruy Freire attacked and succeeded
in burning the English ship. The crew fell into the
hands of the enemy and were ruthlessly massacred, one
man alone being spared.
Gradually, however, the power of the Portuguese
waned, an expedition which was fitted out in 1630 with a
view to the recapture of Hormuz being a failure. Maskat
1 Seme Tears9 Travels^ etc^ p. 106 j his account of Hormuz and of the siege is well
2 This ill-sounding word is a corruption of the Turkish Gumruk or Custom-house,
itself a corruption of the Greek Kov/tepi, akin to the English word " commerce."